There are those days when The Monster just really wants to go caveman and eat with his hands. And when those days strike its time for some Ethiopian food. The best in the city is surely Meals by Genet. Too bad they aren’t open for lunch when the hankering hit. So instead The Monster finds himself inside Nyala. Truth be told, this was the first Ethiopian restaurant The Monster ever tried so there is some nice symmetry to a return visit. It’s been in operation since 1988 so it’s doing a lot right.
Named after a type of impala found in Africa, Nyala is homey enough though it isn’t winning any awards for design. The place kind of looks like 1988. On this day it’s The Monster and the waitress. It’s pretty quiet, all the better to catch up on some reading.
The menu is a greatest hits of Ethiopian fare. You’ll find doro wot (chicken marinated in lemon juice, then sautéed in seasoned butter, fresh garlic, onion, ginger and seasoned red pepper sauce all served with hard boiled egg), yesiga tibs (cubes of selected beef sautéed with onion, tomato and seasoned butter) and Ethiopian style trout. For the veggie and vegans, Ethiopian food offers up delicious offerings as well. All of this is eaten with injera, the spongy sour bread that acts as ones fork, knife and spoon. To top it all off, get some of the smooth honey wine on offer.
The meal begins with some soup. For the life of The Monster he can’t recall a single thing about it. Obviously it didn’t blow The Monster’s mind. So you can come here and get some forgettable soup.
Or you can get the doro tibs which proves delicious. Served with lentils and a side salad, this is some seriously wonderful Ethiopian food. Each bite is a little symphony of flavor. The Monster polishes off the dish and feels happy that in Nyala an old standby shows it can still make some serious vittles.
All the better, on weekends the space offers up live music. That’s a combination you should surely check out.
Why go? You hate utensils.
Monster rating: 3½/5 Monsters
1076 South Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90019